It’s Fruitcake Time!

It’s Fruit Cake Time!

It’s almost THAT time – time for fruit cakes. What Christmas season would be complete without one or more fruit cakes? But, here is one the kids can easily make and you won’t have to wait until it’s flavors mellow before you eat it. This one takes only 24 hours, or until well chilled, and then, let the sampling begin.

This recipe comes from the newest apple cookbook, Healthy to the Core! All Natural Low Sugar/No Sugar Apple Recipes for Kids by Lee Jackson . She stresses healthy eating and enjoying cooking with kids. You will see this recipe is low on sugar and great on flavor. Try it with your kids and enjoy!

Refrigerator Fruit Cake

Ingredients                             Tools and Equipment
4 cups graham cracker crumbs             2, 8-inch pans or
1 teaspoon cinnamon                              1, 9 x12-in pan
1 teaspoon nutmeg                                  waxed paper
2 cups dried apples or                            rolling pin
mixture of fruit                                        large mixing bowl
1/4 cup dates                                            small mixing bowl
1 cup chopped nuts                                 measuring cups
2/3 cup evaporated milk                       and spoons
1/2 cup frozen orange juice                  scissors for cutting
concentrate                                                  dried fruit

1. Prepare pans by lining with wax paper.
2. Between 2 sheets of waxed paper, crush graham crackers into crumbs with rolling pin (or use food processor, if age permits). Add to large bowl. Sprinkle in cinnamon and nutmeg. Add fruits and nuts.
3. Mix together evaporated milk and orange juice concentrate. Pour over crumb mixture and mix until all is moistened.
4. Place in prepared pans and pack firmly with hands.
5. Chill in refrigerator for 24 hours. Cut into small squares.

For this and other recipes, order this book, Healthy to the Core! All Natural Low Sugar/No Sugar Apple Recipes for Kids at the Christmas special of only $12.95 now until December 10 and then it will return to its price of $14.95.

Kids love to measure and pour. Give them this experience. Put in your order today and give the kids hours of cooking, eating, and having fun.

Lee Jackson invites you to go to and sign up for the FREE Guide – Healthy Eating:The Formula. She is the author of a Christmas book for children, The Littlest Christmas Kitten,  and three apple cookbooks. See these and other books at




How to Peel and Chop Onions

With all the holiday cooking this past week, did you need to know how to REALLY cut an onion without crying over it? Watch this:


Who Else Wants a Quick Christmas Idea?

With buying fever in the air, you will want quick Christmas ideas.

Today we are offering a Book Bundle for that young chef in your family. Kids are getting into food projects more and more, judging by the number of TV programs and reports of kids enjoying working with food.

To keep up kids interest in cooking, or to stir it up, we’re offering two books for the price of one in this book bundle.  These books: Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids and Cooking Around the Country with Kids will provide hundreds of  recipes and entertaining ideas for helping them appreciate cooking and learn where their food comes from. This is a $35.95 value, all for one low price of $22.00.

Go to and click “Deals” and order your books now and have your children’s presents all ready to give.

Best to you,

Lee Jackson
Snaptail Press/Images Unlimited Books

P.S. Order your books now and receive the Special Book Offer.


Preschool Teachers & Home-School Parents – Get this E-Book on your Kindle

Filed under Cooking and kidsKids Cooking and Learning Through Food Activities

A new ebook has just been posted on Amazon.  Kids Cooking and Learning Through Food Activities by Amy Houts  is a Kindle edition filled with fun and educational activities.

These activities help children:

  • learn about nutrition
  • predict outcomes of temperature changes on food
  • learn math through cooking
  • learn about foods of different cultures
  • and introduce many other food related projects

Get this ebook on Kindle today. Have it to use tomorrow.

Be the first to review it. Tell your friends.

Preschool and kindergarten, home-schooling parents, families with young children – here is just what you need to get kids learning about the world of food.


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Young Chefs as Food Critics, Food Writers, and Culinary Enthusiasts

Young Chef

Young Chef (Photo credit: Javier Delgado Esteban)

Interesting story and slideshow about 10 young cooks who already have promising culinary careers in their future.

Kid can never start too young to get interested in food and cooking.

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Kids Compete in “Iron Chef” Cooking Challenge

Kids really do like to cook and create if given an opportunity. Take a look at how one school is getting the interest of the kids and cooking. Read about it here:

Search Your Recipe File – and Creative Abilities

On another blog, someone asked for suggestions and recipes on what to make with only ingredients as listed at the end here. They were hungry for something sweet and wanted it to be fast.

I would like to challenge you to see what you could come up with, but we’ll turn it up a notch and see who can use those ingredients for the healthiest recipe.

If you had these ingredients on hand, what would you make? I would really like to hear from you to see what you would make. Let’s bring on the healthy recipes using these ingredients only and post your suggestions.

Self Rising Flour
Cocoa Powder
Orange, Yellow and Red food coloring
Orange and Lemon food flavoring
Chocolate chips
Baking Powder
Baking Soda
Corn flakes

Best to you,

Lee Jackson
Thinking nutrition

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Teenagers Cooking

The emphasis of this blog has been cooking with young children. However, there are cooking challenges with children of all ages. I just read this article about teenagers cooking and thought some of you may have older children, too, and would find value in this as well.

It is written by Glenda Gourley, a food and nutrition educator, who has a passion for getting kids into the kitchen cooking and having fun. She has developed a strategy specifically for teenage children. Her website is designed to help parents and teachers to teach kids to cook: from this site you can access the site hosted by her teenage daughter Claire, which aims to inspire kids to cook with easy, fun, healthy recipes.

“Inspiring teens to cook is tough. We all know that children haven’t got basic food skills – either in preparation or how to make good food choices. The challenge is to bridge the gap between teen apathy and imparting food skills.

In my work with teens I have discovered that this problem knows no international barriers. The consequences of this are evident everywhere in western countries – obesity is rising, consumption of fruit and vegetables is declining and consumption of highly processed foods rises. The next generation is in trouble – they just don’t know it yet. We owe it to them to give them the right skills. Kids need to be inspired and empowered to up-skill themselves and take responsibility for what they eat.

Of all the research and focus groups, the most poignant has been discovering what teens think parents need to do if they want them to learn to cook. We identified eight key points. I still struggle to keep a straight face when I recall how deadly serious they were. So whilst they may be laced with humor – make no mistake, the kids meant them.

These points verge on being precocious, but it certainly helps parents to know what teenagers are thinking. Teenagers are fickle and probably one of the more complicated groups you can try to influence – but also one of the most rewarding when you get it right. I suggest you consider the following with an open mind and then discuss it with your teen – I am sure you will find we are not too far off the mark.

In the words of teens, this is what parents should do…

1. Let me choose what I cook – simple, if I don’t like it I’m not going to want to cook it.

2. Get me a recipe that works – If I go to the effort of cooking I want it to work. I don’t want have to have to keep running to you to ask what to do next.

3. Have all the ingredients – don’t expect me to be able to substitute ingredients when I am just starting out.

4. Stay out of the kitchen – don’t be a helicopter hovering around, give me some space to work things out. But stick around the house in case I need to ask.

5. Resist ‘you should have’ comments – please, please resist the ‘you should have done this’ or ‘I do it this way’ sort of advice. If I want to know I’ll ask.

6. Be impressed – if you expect me to do this again you need to be impressed, so you might have to ‘fake it until I make it’. And don’t go telling all your friends if I do burn something or do something stupid.

7. Don’t nag – if I take a bit longer than you do or I don’t clean up exactly like you do please give me some slack. I have just cooked you a meal!

8. Cut me a deal! – be prepared to cut me a deal – if you expect me to buy into this ‘cook a meal once a week idea’ there has to be something in it for me. This ‘skills for a lifetime’ doesn’t really flick my switch – but money for the movies, being able to borrow the car or that new dress does. Make me feel like I earned it.Okay – I know it’s all about me – but I’m a teenager – it’s always about me!

Teens, especially older ones, will be leaving home before you know it. You are doing your child a huge favor if you ensure they are armed with basic cooking skills before they venture out into the big world. By knowing how to cook, teens can learn to make meals they like, make better food choices, and they will be able to better make their money go further. The added bonus is as they learn a repertoire of recipes you see them gain confidence – and you get to eat the results. I certainly can vouch how delightful it is when one of the children prepares dinner!

So take these eight tips on board and aim to inspire your teenager to cook in 2011. It will make a big difference.”

Cooking is a basic skill that is important for persons of all ages.

Lee Jackson, CFCS
Food and Family Living Specialist

Corn Bread Baking Time

Corn bread?

Image by @jozjozjoz via Flickr

On an icy, wind-swept New Year‘s eve, what could warm your heart and stomach more than some hot crusty corn bread? The following recipe is a perfect accompaniment to the black-eyed peas we started yesterday.

Crusty Corn Bread

1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup white corn meal
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8 or 9-inch pan.

Children can measure flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt into a medium-sized bowl.

Make a well in the center and add milk, oil and egg. Mix just until dry ingredients are moistened, about 50 strokes.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until light brown. Cut into 9 slices or square. Best served warm with a dab of butter.

Yield:  9 servings

Hope you enjoy the hot bread. You can refer to this and other seasonal recipes in Amy Hout’s  childrens cookbook, Cooking Around the Country with Kids: Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun.

I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year, filled with many blessings. See you in 2011!

Best to you,

Lee Jackson
Family Life Issues Coach

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Halloween Pumpkins

Halloween icon
Image via Wikipedia

The pumpkin, when carved into a jack o’ lantern, is a symbol of Halloween. We are about to celebrate that day on October 31, the eve of All Saints Day.

Children enjoy picking out pumpkins in anticipation of the holiday. Once they have selected one, you may suggest  they draw pictures of pumpkins with different emotions, such as happy, sad, angry, and scared jack o’ lanterns and then talk about feelings. Drawing different expressions on paper can  help them decide on the design for their creation.

When choosing a pumpkin, look for one with a bright orange color that is firm to the touch. Avoid those that are soft or have blemishes on their skin. If your child wants a large pumpkin, suggest that you will buy any pumpkin he or she can carry. You may want to buy two – one for making into a jack o’ latern and one to cook. When choosing one for cooking, the smaller ones are better,  as the large pumpkins have stringy pulp.

Pumpkins keep longer when stored in a cool, dry place, such as outdoors, above 32 degrees F but below 60. If you plan to cook the pumpkin, do so within a month.

In her book, “Cooking Around the Calendar With Kids – Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun Activities”, author Amy Houts,  includes an interesting section on how to toast pumpkin seeds. Her “Ranch Flavored Pumpkin Seeds” and “Spicy Seeds” create a tasty twist to regular pumpkin seeds.

Note: Seeds should not be given to young children as choking is possible.

Tomorrow I want to share with you a delicious pumpkin recipe from her cookbook.

Enjoy the fall weather and fall flavors!

Lee Jackson
Books for cooks and apple lovers
children, families and parenting professionals

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